Friday, August 11, 2006

More on the Lamont-Lieberman dynamic

Michael Barone provides superb analysis of the demographics of the Lamont win in a subscription-only WSJ piece that is excerpted by Power Line:

The Connecticut primary reveals that the center of gravity in the Democratic Party has moved, from the lunch-bucket working class that was the dominant constituency up through the 1960s to the secular transnational professional class that was the dominant constituency in the 2004 presidential cycle. You can see the results on the map. Joe Lieberman carried by and large the same cities and towns that John F. Kennedy carried in the 1960 presidential general election.

Ned Lamont carried most of the cities and towns that were carried by Richard Nixon. In Stamford, where Joe Lieberman grew up the son of a liquor-store owner, and where there are still sizeable blue-collar and black communities, Mr. Lieberman won with 55% of the vote. In next-door Greenwich, where Ned Lamont (like former President George H.W. Bush) grew up as the scion of an investment banker family, and where the housing values are now among the highest in the nation, Mr. Lamont won with 68% of the vote. If Mr. Lamont wins in November, he will be just one of several members of a Democratic caucus who have made, inherited or married big money.

The working class Democrats of the mid-20th century voted their interests, and knew that one of their interests was protecting the nation in which they were proud to live. The professional class Democrats of today vote their ideology and, living a life in which they are insulated from adversity, feel free to imagine that America cannot be threatened by implacable enemies. They can vote to validate their lifestyle cho8ices and their transnational attitudes.

In the mid-20th century the core constituencies of both the Democratic and the Republican Parties stood foursquare for America's prosecution of World War II and the Cold War. Today, as the Connecticut results suggest, it's different. The core constituency of the Republican Party stands foursquare for America's prosecution of the global struggle against Islamofascist terrorism -- and solidly on the side of Israel in its struggle against the same forces. The core constituency of the Democratic Party wants to stand aside from the global struggle -- and, as the presence of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton at Mr. Lamont's side on election night suggests, is not necessarily on the side of Israel. It's not your father's Democratic Party.

The same post quotes a Thomas Edsall piece from the online New Republic to the effect that Democrat Party presidential (and presumably other national) primaries are dominated by an upper and upper-middle class electorate which leaves the surviving candidate out of touch with the mainstream electorate, with the notable exception of Bill Clinton. This agrees with my point that wins by guys like Ned Lamont does not bode well for the future health of the party.

No matter your political affiliation, you have to hope they can turn it around as we need the two sides to serve as responsible checks on each other. Not to be confused with the irresponsible behavior that began to expand with a wacky faction of the right in the late 90's and has exploded with today's irrational Angry Left.

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At 8/11/2006 8:05 PM, Blogger Repack Rider said...

Wow, Barone is a moron! Thanks for bringing that to my attention.

Mr. Barone, of course, is HIMSELF a white collar worker, so whatever he says about the blue-collar class is supposition.

On the other hand, I MOVE PIANOS six days a week. You can't get any more blue collar than that, and I can assure you that I am in closer touch with the class of people who actually get things done than any so-called pundit. I am also a US Army veteran (E-5), another category that separates me from chickenhawks on the right like Barone and Hindrocket and gives me a perspective on war that they hide from.

The two guys I spend my days with are both Black, and one has served two felony convictions. I hang out in the Black community to the extent that I have been the only white person invited to a big party. Barone would wet his pants if he went where I go with my friends.

Barone is wrong. Working class people like myself admire Mr. Lamont far more than Mr. Lieberman for the simple reason that Lamont has spent time in the real world a lot more recently than Lieberman, Barone, or Hindrocket. Lamont taught school in the inner city, where there are real working class people. Lieberman does not seem to meet reality in any aspect of his life.

Where do you or Barone or Hindrocket go to hang out with guys who take their showers AFTER work? Answer: you don't know anyone like that.

I notice that it is now in fashion to denigrate the majority of the country that regrets the invasion of Iraq as the "far left," but if 65% of the country has that view, how many remain for the center and the far right? Can 2/3 of the country ALL be "far left"?

Really, these guys and their intellectual midgetry are a big part of what is wrong with the country, and people like me, military veterans who go to work every day with our hands and our skills, and produce actual goods and services rather than moronic columns are a lot of what is right. And we like Lamont. Take that to the bank.

At 8/12/2006 11:08 AM, Blogger Gary Collard said...

First and foremost, thank you for your service.

Your criticism of Barone's data is off base; he's not stating his opinion of working class Democrat voters, he's analyzing the facts as culled from actual voting records. It's a fact that Lieberman did best among blue collar workers and that Lamont did best among upper and upper middle class white suburbs, no disputing that. That your peer group does not fit the overall trend doesn't mean it's not true.

I'm also not sure where you get the idea that Lamont is a guy of the people. He's a 4th generation trust fund baby, a male Paris Hilton if you will, any work he has ever done in his life has been because he just wants to do it. Guys like Lieberman/Barone/Hinderaker are much closer to the working class than a guy like Lamont, not that it is really relevant to who most shares their concerns.

I agree that the (mostly retroactive) opposition to going into Iraq is not a far left position, in most cases it's just that people have changed their mind after the fact. But I would say that the wholly different issue of immediate withdrawal, a nice way of saying complete and unconditional surrender, is a far left thing. The genesis of and driving force behind that position is a worldview that is reflexively pacifist, isolationist, and mostly anti-American, which is the very essence of the far left. Of course, immediate withdrawal is not even anywhere close to being a majority opinion in this country.

Thanks for your opinions, feel free to come back anytime whether you agree or disagree.

At 8/12/2006 8:02 PM, Blogger Repack Rider said...

I agree that the (mostly retroactive) opposition to going into Iraq is not a far left position, in most cases it's just that people have changed their mind after the fact.

Then chalk me up as someone a lot smarter than the "after the fact"-ers. The right likes to invoke the myth (and it IS a myth) of soldiers returning from Vietnam being spat upon by protestors.

During the run up to the Iraq war when I took a firm and public position against it, I was called a traitor and worse, by people who, although eager for war, had not and would not sacrifice a day of their lives in service of their country.

But I would say that the wholly different issue of immediate withdrawal, a nice way of saying complete and unconditional surrender, is a far left thing.

A retreat is inevitable, and it can take place on our terms, or as you call it, "complete surrender," or it can be a rout, with our people on the run and being slaughtered. As smart a guy as Einstein was forced to confront the uncomfortable fact that the universe must either expand or contract, but it can't sit still. Our ability to do anything in Iraq is contracting, and the process cannot be reversed.

The lesson of Vietnam seems to be that no one learned it. You can't maintain an expensive presence in hostile territory forever, and the territory in Iraq is even more dangerous than Vietnam, where a GI could actually leave the post and do something other than watch his buddy's back.

Our outnumbered people require massive support, with armored convoys just to bring them drinking water, while their opponents plan at their kitchen tables and have access to the world's biggest supply of high explosives, and more small arms and ammo than even our army owns. We went and invaded a country with the most heavily armed civilian populace in the world, where millions of angry men have access to AK-47s or a couple of kilos of C-4 and want to kill just one American apiece.

Oh yeah, and there are about a hundred of those guys stalking each and every one of our people. Once we started torturing them in Saddam's own prison, and killing innocent people by the thousands, we were no different from Saddam to them, or to me for that matter. If they are going to be tortured and killed indiscriminately, they seem to prefer that it is done by someone born there and so do I.

The genesis of and driving force behind that position is a worldview that is reflexively pacifist, isolationist, and mostly anti-American, which is the very essence of the far left. Of course, immediate withdrawal is not even anywhere close to being a majority opinion in this country.

This is a hot button for me, and despite the anger that statement inspires, I can refute it politely.

Pacifist? No shit. War is hell and the worst that peace can be isn't as bad as the best war can be. Why would any sane human being want a war?

Isolationist? Hardly. Our presence in Iraq is isolationist. We are already the pariah of the world, and we need to do something to rejoin the world community we have given the finger to for three years.

Anti-American? Tell me about your honorable service to your country. I don't have to defend my patriotism, because my dues are paid for life. You are joining those (mythical) people in my opening paragraph, spitting figuratively on a soldier.

Your entire argument against saving American lives, treasure, and a shred of moral high ground, is that it would somehow be "unmanly" to retreat, NO MATTER HOW GOOD AN IDEA IT IS.

Whose manhood is threatened here? Yours? Well, then, don't show me your courage from a keyboard ('cause it ain't working), be a man and enlist to fight in the war you don't want to retreat from.

Ask a guy on patrol in Baghdad whether his manhood would be threatened by a ticket home that didn't include a Purple Heart. Unless the guy is a complete sociopath and psycho who enjoys killing, he will trade that "manhood" for the ticket in a heartbeat.

You obviously do not understand what happens to people who have to spend years of their lives confronting such horror and taking part in it, a horror that a PHOTOGRAPH of would disturb your sleep for days. We have not begun to pay society's price for the people we are about to attempt to bring back into our midst, and I can see how much that bothers you.

I'm not worried about my own manhood in the face of a retreat from Iraq. Why are you so worried about yours? As far as I can tell, you have never put it on the line.

At 8/14/2006 6:18 PM, Blogger Gary Collard said...

Okay, we seem to agree that we whenever we retreat it should be on our own terms, thus none of that "immediate withdrawal" garbage. We found some common ground there.

The lesson of Vietnam is that an antiwar movement can lead to tragic unintended consequences, in that case 2.5-3 million dead Indochinese soon after and decades of human suffering going forward as a result of said pullout. I'm not certain that a few hundred thousand Iraqis would be slaughtered if we were to leave, but it looks like the most likely scenario. Now, one can make the "screw the Iraqui people, I'm just worried about the Americans" argument, but I find it hard to swallow myself.

Pacifism - you are naive if you think that one can just choose between war and no war. We can choose to defend ourselves and our interests or crawl into a shell and hope that our enemies give up their quest for a global Caliphate, but saying we can just choose not to fight is utopian BS. Pacifism only works in a world without existential evil, which we have not seen for close to a century.

Isolationism - our presence in Iraq is isolationist? Huh? Isolationism is avoiding any alliances, political relations, economic relations, etc. Fighting with allies in support of a foreign people is the oppsite of isolationism.

Anti-Americanism - of course, has nothing to do with what you've done, but what you believe. You claiming some kind of moral authority over somebody who has not been in the military is no more valid than claiming that John McCain's opinion on the war should be respected more than, say, Ted Kennedy's. It's just a dishonest premise, a form of the Argument from Authority fallacy.

Anti-Americanism is something else entirely. Those who think the US is fundamentally a bad country, a negative force in the world, with impure and/or conspiratorial motives for our actions and policies, are anti-American. Those of us who think that the US is fundamentally a good, moral, well-meaning country that is a force for good in the world are the other side of the spectrum. If you are a guy who is antiwar but not anti-American, good for you, I wish there were more like you, but sadly you are an exception in that group.

With the "manhood" strawman you throw out there, again I have to say...huh? That whole section doesn't even make sense. I guess it's supposed to be some form of condescention because you've convinced yourself I have no military background, but not sure as it's just a bizarre section. At any rate, manhood has nothing to do with anything we're talking about here. I would use the term "immoral" for a possible pullout, it's the "screw the Iraqi people" line of thought as I said above, but it is at least a topic that can be debated. You seem to be taking that it's a given that it is a good idea to surrender, and on that point we have to just disagree. Just declaring your side of the argument correct and blanket insulting anybody who disagrees with you, I hope you're better than that.

Cheers and have a good week.

At 8/14/2006 7:07 PM, Blogger Gary Collard said...

Another quick note on anti-Americanism: the America haters also often reveal themselves by suggesting that terrorist attacks on and plots against the US are because we did something to provoke them, that we have some responsibility for "why they hate us" and that we have subsequently provoked and continue to provoke still more terrorism by our actions and policies. This is one of the common refrains from the anti-American playbook, the Balme America First card, I should have mentioned it in the last reply.


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